Words: Milo Hempel
Joey Bada$$ returns to Manchester for his European tour to promote his latest (fantastic) album, ALL AMERIKKKAN BADA$$. This time he played the Manchester Albert Hall, to an extremely ecstatic crowd. The opening act, Sampa the Great, did a great job of establishing the vibe of the show, with some hard hitting boom bap beats and fiery lyricism. Sampa the Great was followed by a brief DJ set, which was clearly for no other reason other than to hype up the crowd to the max. It did a great job, playing hook after hook of popular hard hitting rap songs, much to the enjoyment of the crowd.
After 10 minutes or so of the DJ Set, Joey Bada$$ took to the stage, opening with one his most energetic songs, Rockabye Baby. The crowd, having been prepped for a series of bangers, was electric. And Joey himself put on a series of fiery energetic performances featuring some of the biggest bangers from his new album, from the joyous yet frustrated For My People, to the rumbling insanity of Ring the Alarm. For the first half of the show, the crowd was fairly energetic, but was largely content to simply take in one of the most talented young MC’s doing what he does best, as Joey spits bar after bar, without so much drawing a breath. Joey Bada$$’s technical ability at this point in his career is undeniable, as he switched flows, cadences, and speed all while remaining an energetic on-stage presence.
After a medley of songs from his latest album, Joey moved onto some of his older material, including one of his biggest and most hard hitting songs, No. 99. Before he played it however, he ordered the crowd to form a huge mosh pit in the centre. After a few audience members did some backflips in the centre, joey kicked off the song. From this point onwards, the energy of the show was on another level, as the crowd contracted and expanded like an accordion in time to the music, and Joey going completely nuts on stage, spitting his lyrics with venom and intent while making a striking on stage figure. The absolutely electric atmosphere continued right through to the end of the gig, including highlights like Survival Tactics, which was Joey’s breakout single with the late Capital Steez, who the song was dedicated to. Joey Bada$$ closed the gig with the hugely popular Devastated, which got a massive crowd reaction, clearly ecstatic watching one of the rappers best in the game giving an amazing performance of one of his best songs, combined with some nice effects by the venue.
Leaving the venue was slow, but nobody minded, as everyone was still buzzing from the performance. It’s safe to say that Joey Bada$$ put on an absolute banger of a show in Manchester, and I highly recommend anyone who can to go see him.